Self-care & stress

Looking after yourself is extremely important

Living with or caring for a loved one who uses drugs or alcohol can take a huge toll on family members. One of the benefits of support for yourself is that it can help you to think about your own needs. Often life has come to revolve around the substance user and it's a long time since you thought about your own wellbeing. Here are some of the things that families often find helpful:

  • Carving out a small slot in the week to do something just 'for you'.  Re-read a favourite book, take a walk in the park, curl up with a magazine, take a bath, paint your nails, re-discover a long lost hobby.
  • Mindfulness. There are now many apps and local classes to help us practice mindfulness which is scientifically proven to improve wellbeing and reduce stress.
  • Re-connect with old friends. Families affected by drugs and alcohol often become isolated from previous social networks.
  • Get some exercise. A brisk walk, a cycle or a favourite class has many health and wellbeing benefits, not least that it will release endorphins which improve your mood.
  • Take a break. Many family members of those who use drugs or alcohol feel unable to get away because of the unpredictability of their loved one's behaviour. But a change of scene, even for a weekend, can make a huge difference to the rest of the family.

Family support services may have groups, information and facilities to support you in taking steps to improve your own wellbeing.  Search our map for one near you.